The McKenzie Milton Show Has Arrived

Sunday Morning Quarterback

UCF Maryland 2016 Score

It finally happened. With Justin Holman on the shelf, Scott Frost finally turned over the keys to his offense to his prized 18-year-old, 5-11, 170-pound true freshman quarterback, McKenzie Milton.

And you know what? Not bad at all.

Now, his first career start will go down as his first career loss at home to Maryland in double-overtime. This one stings. But this game felt like trying a new, delicious recipe that you’ve always wanted to make yourself but couldn’t, and then when you finally cook it, it’s not quite the same as what you remember, but you also know what you’re going to next time to really nail it.

The Highlights

The Reaction

The Good

Milton. 21/36, 260 yards, two TD passes and one interception on a tipped ball. He accounted for all three of UCF’s touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). He officially tallied 19 rushes for a net total of 7 yards, but he was able to escape pressure for positive yardage on more than a few occasions. He also led a very balances attack (195 yards rushing, 260 passing) that controlled the line of scrimmage until late. For a true freshman making his first career start, he was poised and impressive with his command of the offense.

As Frost said Monday:

The Bad

The run defense. After an impressive performance against Michigan, UCF’s run defense got hit and hit hard, especially as the game wore on. Maryland gained 246 yards on 50 carries (just shy of five yards a carry) and scored all of their touchdowns on the ground. UCF’s front seven was worn down in the overtime, as the Terps scored touchdowns in both overtime possessions on a total of five plays, all quarterback runs.

The Ugly

The four turnovers. Milton tried to do too much on occasion, which is to be expected from a freshman. He threw one pick which was an overthrown tipped ball, and fumbled six times, losing three of them, including the last one in the second overtime that killed UCF’s chance to win the game. These are easily correctable mistakes, and part of the growing pains associated with running a brand new offense with a brand-new quarterback.

The Interesting

The pass defense. Maryland QB Perry Hills managed to hit just 10/23 for 127 yards, with no TDs and no INTs. Take away one 51-yard completion and he was 9/22 for 76 yards. Maryland had to run the ball to win, because UCF’s secondary was outstanding. UCF’s pass coverage also enabled the front seven to record five sacks (two by Tony Guerad).

The Turning Point

The fumble in the second overtime. It happened on a third-and-goal at the Maryland two-yard line with the Terps’ defense reeling. Milton ran out of time, rolled left, and it was difficult to determine initially if he fumbled or threw a forward pass:

However, the AAC replay officials ruled it a fumble after a LONG review, and UCF came away with no points. Two plays later, the game was over.

Stat of the Night

Attendance: 43,107. It sure sounded like it:

That’s the most since UCF beat BYU in 2014. The South Carolina State game drew 36,260. More to come, hopefully.

Irrational Overreaction of the Week

Oh, come on. Offense was the highlight against Michigan.

Next Week

Don’t sleep on this one. The all-time series is tied 2-2. FIU beat UCF in 2011, when we were rudely introduced to T.Y. Hilton, and then again last year in the opener, which started the Knights’ slide into oblivion.

Like it or not, UCF is now 1-2 and on a two-game losing streak. This game just became a must-win.

About Jeff Sharon 149 Articles
Jeff Sharon is the Managing Editor, Publisher, and boss around here. He graduated from UCF in 2005 and worked in the Knights' athletic department full-time from 2008-2010. He still works for UCF as a public address announcer at several sporting events and also thinks the Atlantic Sun Conference days were more fun than you realized. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Sharon.